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The recent Hootsuite 2019 Social Media Trends report was fascinating – not least because it confirms a number of views we have previously expressed, such as the importance of content.

The emphasis we place on content is one of the reasons we have recruited Judith Buchan as account director and head of content to give added focus on our ability, not only to create content, but also to make best use of any client developed material. To do this, in addition to knowing the subject, the industry and the audience to be reached, content managers need to be able to write persuasively.

Something we have always stressed when developing content is to tell stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end. Storytelling always makes content more interesting– whether it is content for social media or any other communication platform.

It does not mean making things up for effect but developing a narrative that hangs together, is easy to read (or listen to) visually appropriate, and easy to understand.

In effect content is the glue that holds every communication program together.

To us it’s not just a case of placing articles, announcements, releases or presentations with platforms that reach a defined audience (preferably as “unearned content”) it’s expanding the reach of source material by using it in a variety of ways. This increasingly includes non-text content.

Can the main topic of a technical paper be placed as an article? Does it contain a separate standalone topic that would make a good release? Can it be talked to as a podcast? Can a presentation to clients be videoed, edited and used?

Indeed “content” for social media cannot be words alone. There is an ever-increasing range of platforms for stories. While well edited and crafted quality videos are increasingly used to take advantage of various social media platforms, the survey showed that spontaneity had particular impact.

Using storytelling to get messages across is just one of the many areas in the report we found interesting.

Another point made in the Hootsuite report that resonates with us is “tap your teams’ full creative resources”. As the report says, “Stories work best when they integrate video, storytelling, text, images and more. Expecting a single social media specialist to integrate all of these skills is a tall order”.

I suspect that while organisations see social media as the domain of the marketing department, the skills of public relations advisers, especially in developing and placing persuasive content, are not always fully utilised in programs.

The full Hootsuite report can be obtained at https://hootsuite.com/resources/social-media-trends-report-2019